Officer Cadets “an asset to any employer”

Written by Michelle McKearnon, Regional Employer Engagement Director, Highland Reserve Forces and Cadets Association

The next step for many of our young Cadets is to join the Officer Cadets at university, where a range of activities and skills complement the academic achievements of undergraduates from all walks of life. The Royal Navy has 14 University Royal Naval Units (URNUs) which have both land and sea-based facilities, and a dedicated P2000 fast patrol boat for training purposes.

Six ships visited Scotland recently, crewed by young officer cadets who were literally learning the ropes under the watchful eye of their commanding officers. Our REED Michelle McKearnon and several of our employers joined HMS Charger for two days sailing down the Caledonian Canal, and took part in training manoeuvres in Loch Ness.

Michelle commented: “The young Officer Cadets were very impressive and had huge responsibility for all sorts of tasks, from providing lunch to managing the locks on the canal and practising rescuing our “man” overboard. As confident and capable young people, they really showcased their skills.”

Vincent Docherty, Head of Education for Aberdeen Council, who also joined the ship as a guest of Highland RFCA, said: “This has been a first class experience from an education point of view. Watching the crew work together as a team and seeing all the transferable skills on offer, has been fascinating. I think this is a life-changing experience for these youngsters who are learning and developing in an exciting, but very supportive environment.

Colleen MacLean from Developing the Young Workforce West Highland remarked that she was very excited to be taking new ideas back to schools after the trip, and that she had learned a great deal about the many different career options in the Armed Forces. “It was great to see curriculum subjects and themes such as STEM in action,” she said, adding: “These cadets would be an asset to any employer.”

To round off the trip, Lochaber Chamber of Commerce put pen to paper with Lt Paul Harsent of HMS Charger and signed the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging their support for Veterans, Reservists and Cadets as future employees.

For any further information on DYW WH, please phone us on: 01397 705765 or pop in and see us at: Lochaber Chamber of Commerce, 15 High Street, Fort William, PH33 6DH.  Alternatively, you can email us on: info@dywwesthighland.org